Héctor Serrano
Country Manager Mexico
Guardian Glass
View from the Top

Glass Sector on Standby without Government Regulations

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 14:02

Q: What are the main factors that could promote the growth of the glass market in Mexico?
A: Energy monitoring is impacting demand for our products. There are many products that facilitate the reduction of energy consumption in buildings, while allowing natural light to enter the building. The performance of glass has evolved a great deal to meet sustainability objectives and this is something that we must promote through norms. We need to demand more from the industry and its providers to ensure the sustainability of future projects. We see that the demand for tempered glass is growing rapidly, with laminated glass showing high growth rates. But the only thing that will truly promote the use of these types of products is a boost from the government.
Q: How have sustainability and energy efficiency trends impacted your product portfolio?
A: Some countries are establishing Net Zero initiatives, which means that buildings must be able to produce enough energy to meet their own needs. These technologies have a cost, of course, and we need to continue creating new products that will allow us to reach these goals, from illumination to solar control. I am convinced that these technologies will grow much faster when they are accompanied by the right norms and regulations. We are working arduously to raise awareness among our clients. Buildings that strive for LEED or other certifications focused on sustainability are a perfect match to our vision.
Q: Why should buildings incorporate your product over those of your competitors?
A: Guardian Glass is focused on innovation, with significant investments in R&D for the different glass segments. In architectural products, we are a world leader in the development and manufacture of high-performance coated products that offer attractive aesthetics, allowing natural light while at the same time reducing the amount of energy consumed. We are convinced that this strategy gives us a competitive advantage and the preference of our customers.
Q: How has the country’s residential real estate sector adapted to sustainable glass products?
A: Mexico is a fast adopter of new technology. As an example, before tempered glass began expanding in Mexico more than 15 years ago, various technologies already existed in other countries. But Mexico jumped straight to the newest tempered glass technology in the market. The issue is that so far, the high-performance glass market in Mexico is just too small. Residential real estate represents 70 percent of the total glazing market and so far, is using the most basic products. An important part of the market is also the independent architects who build single homes.
Q: How has Guardian Glass’ presence in the market evolved?
A:  We opened our plant in Queretaro in 2004. We had some operations in Mexico through distribution before 2003, but no manufacturing operations at the time. When we entered the market, there was a surplus of material in Mexico. We were a new player and it was difficult to start off on the right foot, especially with the crisis of 2009. Our goal as a company was to maintain employment and we focused ourselves on our long-term growth strategy.
After 2010, we saw significant growth in the market and our domestic sales have increased in the ensuing years. Guardian Glass is a global company and we have vast experience in markets all over the world. The company had always belonged to one owner, who passed away in 2009 and had a vision of what would happen to his company in the future. His family became partners of the company and in 2012 we entered into a partnership with Koch Industries, which took over 44 percent of our shares and subsequently acquired 100 percent. Guardian Glass had in the past grown organically, with its own resources and talent. Koch’s acquisition ensures steady growth going forward. We have been constantly investing to enhance our operations, with recent investments in Jumbo coating facilities in the US and in Europe, as well as expanding our float capacity in Europe.